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L.A. School District Cancels iPad Pearson Curriculum, Asks Apple for Refund

Following the end of the $1.3 billion education initiative that would have seen all students in the Los Angeles school district outfitted with an iPad, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has notified Apple that it will no longer be using or paying for the Pearson Education curriculum that was meant to accompany the iPads.

In a letter sent to Apple and shared in part by the Los Angeles Times, the LAUSD asked for a refund and said it has no plans to "accept or compensate Apple for new deliveries of [Pearson Education] curriculum."

When the school district entered into a contract with Apple, it paid approximately $768 per iPad, which included approximately $200 towards a three-year license for math and English curriculum from Pearson that was meant to replace many textbooks and other learning tools. The materials went largely unused by the district due to technical problems and the quality of the software.
"As you are aware, LAUSD is extremely dissatisfied with the work of Pearson," according to an April 13 letter signed by general counsel David Holmquist. "While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solution ... they have yet to deliver it."

Despite demands to fix the problem, the letter said that "the vast majority of our students are still unable to access the Pearson curriculum on iPads."
The letter asks for a meeting with Apple to discuss the dissolution of the district's deal with Pearson and a refund for the licenses that it was not able to use, letting it recoup some of the cost that it paid for the failed iPad initiative.

Apple and the Los Angeles Unified School District first entered into a $30 million agreement in 2013, which saw 35,000 iPads being distributed to 47 schools as part of a pilot program. The deal was meant to expand to a $1.3 billion initiative to provide all 640,000 students in the district with iPads, but it began falling apart soon after iPads were distributed to students.

Apple's contract with the LAUSD has since been under scrutiny from the FBI, under accusations that former L.A. superintendent John Deasy may have modified the bidding process for the initiative to favor Apple and Pearson due to ties with executives at Pearson.

Top Rated Comments

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50 months ago

In theory this program should have been a hit. Poor software and technical support are to blame. Apple need to focus more in this area if they want a program like this to succeed. Education has taken a back seat to gold watches and bling.
Rating: 51 Votes
50 months ago
I used pen and paper and i turned out just good.
Rating: 48 Votes
50 months ago
As anyone who has taken a college course can tell you, textbook publication is a business full of slimeballs. Apple entering into an agreement alongside them was a mistake.
Rating: 28 Votes
50 months ago
Even though I teach in a modern classroom where every student has a laptop and I have a SmartBoard I still use textbooks for quite a bit of my instruction. Why? Because they are faster and just work.:)
Rating: 21 Votes
50 months ago

I used pen and paper and i turned out just good.

That's nothing, I have great great ancestors that carved into stone and they ended up just fine.
Rating: 19 Votes
50 months ago
Public schools, I want my tax money back.
Rating: 18 Votes
50 months ago
As a Math Instructor, I can say that a lot of what I have seen publishers pushing as "interactive" and "user-friendly" is neither. They just want to rush to get something out ahead of the other publishers.

I chuckled when I read that Pearson did not have their on-line stuff together. Typical.
Rating: 16 Votes
50 months ago
I am a math teacher that uses MyMathLab which is a Pearson product. I have owned every iPad... and see tremendous potential for its use in the classroom. Apple makes a great product... but there is no publishing company... including Pearson... that is able to utilize the iPad effectively. The software has to work seamlessly so the user can learn without the software getting in the way. I think it was far too early for Apple to invest in Pearson technology like this. They put their name on the line... and I don't think that was smart. The idea is great... but Pearsons products are not at a level that can be effective on the iPad. Pearson books and the MyMathLab learning environment are not optimized for the iPad. In fact, I found far too many glitches and hangups trying to use their product on the iPad. And he design is terrible. I was asked to test MyMathLab on the iPad. I gave up over a few months because the user experience was horrible and there were far too many bugs. I cannot ask my students to use it if even I can't use it effectually. I think apple Ibooks authoring has more potential then Pearsons ibooks. As far as the learning platform... MyMathlab has far too many problems to be used effectively on the iPad.
Rating: 16 Votes
50 months ago
That was an awful deal for LASD
Rating: 14 Votes
50 months ago
This project was a joke from the start.

I worked at Pearson here in the Bay Area building a lot of the classroom content for the app.

Things were rushed to the point that we didn't have time to polish almost anything, and a lot of this b grade material ended up in the hands of students.

Project managers were pushed by their superiors higher up the ladder to adapt a quantity over quality approach to content creation and delivery. It made it a hard environment to work in, as if you were to point out flaws or inconsistencies to anyone your cry would go unnoticed.

They were rushing because they over sold the scope of the product then tried to cover it up by overloading the school district with an over delivery of sub par content. It smelled a lot like a premeditated scheme in the sense that they were getting very large checks written for concepts and products that didn't even exist yet.

On the day they launched with LAUSD, I could literally crash the app on demand in over 10 different ways by simply tapping in certain areas.

LAUSD got played hard.
Rating: 12 Votes

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